Tough Love

It’s been a tough few weeks in the Malhi household. Aaisha has been unsettled both at home and at school. We’ve had more meltdowns In one week than we usually get in a month. I won’t even deny that I too, reached breaking point at one stage. Meltdowns are one of the hardest things for a parent to deal with. She can’t express her needs or frustration. Her anxiety levels will be a high, inivetibaly this leads to the dreaded meltdown. We’ve had tears, shouting and throwing whatever is in her reach at that moment. This is then followed by sleepless nights.

She has no control over her meltdowns! So how do you tell her this is not acceptable? All you can do is hope they are short and pass quickly. When they do eventually subside, I cuddle my 18 year old as if she was a baby. I wipe her tears and I’m desperate to see her smile again. As her Mother I had to get used to seeing these moments. I knew I had to ensure that I could make it as smooth as possible for my daughters sake. Trust me, this is not easy. To see my daughter in that state is so distressing and heartbreaking that I could never even begin to explain that moment in words.

I also know as she gets older they will probably get worse. I also worry about what will happen when I don’t have the strength to deal with them. physical and mental strength of mind are vital elements in dealing with meltdowns. I won’t always be young & fit. She’s my baby and she always will be. As her only parent I’ve learned to master all the strength possible to keep her happy & safe. At the same time I have had to keep the balance in our home so that her siblings never feel they are any less special as her or loved any less. The reality is autism affects everyone living in her house! When she refuses to get in the car, one of us will have to stay behind with her. Even a simple trip to the town sometimes feels like a military operation. We often have to bribe her and turn it in to a game, just to get her to come with us just so her siblings can get what they need for school. Then it’s a case of get there, get what we need and get back always hoping that we don’t have any kind of meltdown on route or whilst we are there. Over the years, we may have become accustomed to the stares and finger pointing by those who don’t understand autism but it’s never easy when you are desperately trying to reassure your child and everyone is stopping to stare.

Autism is tough love! It is the overwhelming desire to protect your child. The hope that your child will get through the day happy and content. It is faith that carries you through the bad days. The joy at the smallest amount of progress your child makes. The pain & hurt of this journey never leaves you. Its never going to let you or your child be free, but with raising awareness and acceptance for autism you all have the power to change lives. Please show some humanity and compassion to those affected by autism.

While your average parents enjoy the milestones for their children’s lives, we parents of autistic children just pray for acceptance of our children. We would like to accept our children as they are with the autism. It’s tough enough being a parent so please try to understand that our journey with parenthood is even tougher than yours. We show you & your children compassion and kindness. It is too much to ask for the same?

Pam Malhi

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